The Party Platform
DC Statehood Green Party Platform
I. Politcal Democracy, Justice and Civil Rights
II. End Discrimination
III. Election Reform
IV. Political Structure Reform
V. Government Performace
VI. Fiscal Issues
VII. Environmental Issues
VIII. Health Issues
X. Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
XIII. Safety Net, Economy and Housing
This is the local DC Statehood Green Party Platform; for the national Green Party of the United States platform, please click here.
Also please see our Key Values and Guiding Principles for a general summary of the ideas contained in our platform.
I. POLITICAL DEMOCRACY, JUSTICE & CIVIL RIGHTS
1. We demand statehood which would give us democracy and self-government including: · Local authority within the District over our three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial. · The elimination of all Federal government committees and sub-committees that have oversight or appropriation power over D.C. government. · Complete and equal voting representation in the United States Congress.
2. We support official acknowledgement of and apology for the U.S. government’s role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and reparations to slave descendents. The D.C. government should enact its own reparations legislation, notwithstanding its continued advocacy for passage of a national reparations bill.
3. We support passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. The D. C. government should enact its own legislation that affirms equal rights for men and women as it continues to advocate for passage of the ERA. (top of page)
II. END DISCRIMINATION
1. We oppose discrimination in any form, based on gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity, immigration status, or national origin. The D.C. Statehood Green Party is an explicitly anti-racist/anti-oppression organization.
2. We oppose racism in all its forms. We support affirmative action to remedy discrimination in education and employment and, to protect constitutional rights and to provide equal opportunity under the law. We oppose racial profiling and condemn government harassment and targeting of immigrants, and urge equal protection under the law for all residents of the District of Columbia and of the United States regardless of immigration status.
3. We oppose discrimination based on sex or gender. We support sustained action, guided by a feminist perspective, on legal, political, social, and economic fronts to eliminate sexism and achieve full equality between men and women. We oppose discrimination against women in the workplace and in the family, and any practice that does not protect and promote equal treatment of women under the law.
4. We support full human rights for all individuals regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or sexuality. We support education on sexuality in the schools including education about homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism. Same-sex marriage must have the same legal standing as heterosexual marriage. Same-sex couples must have equal adoption rights as heterosexual couples. (top of page)
III. ELECTION REFORM
1. We support free and equal access to radio and television media for set amount of time distributed during a campaign to all qualified candidates. We support a legal limit on the campaign period.
2. We support a broader mandate for the Board of Elections and Ethics to increase voter turnout. Implementing this mandate should include the distribution of political profiles and platforms of all candidates to all registered voters in advance of the election, education on how to use the ballot, facilitation of candidate forums that include all candidates, and implementation of other ideas to increase voter participation.
3. Reduce the number of signatures required for non-ballot-status parties or independent candidates, and lengthen the petition period. Hold elections on non-working days, and permit same-day registration.
4. We demand the passage of “Clean Elections” legislation in the District of Columbia to provide for public funding of campaigns.
5. Allow non-U.S. citizens who are legal residents to vote in D.C. elections. (top of page)
6. We demand that the District of Columbia replace the “winner take all” method of apportioning presidential electors which effectively disenfranchises votes for all runner up candidates with a requirement that electoral votes shall be divided in proportion to the popular vote for each candidate.
IV. POLITICAL STRUCTURE REFORM
1. We support the use of Instant Runoff Voting in voting for elected officials in which there can only be a single winner to ensure the winner is supported by a majority of those casting a vote. Legislative seats with a single winner should be replaced with multi-member districts elected by proportional representation.
2. Enlarge the D.C. City Council to at least twice its current size, with each member representing a smaller constituency. The present number of council members is too few to fulfill their committee responsibilities, perform adequate oversight, and legislate public policy into law.
3. Expand the authority and resources of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs). Allow ANCs to authorize ballot initiatives collectively; to sue the DC Government; to elect a representative from among the commissioners to serve on the Committee of Public Works and the Environment.
4. To Involve residents in all decisions affecting development and the environment in their neighborhoods, especially through ANCs, the following steps are required: · Hold hearings at times and places convenient to residents. · Require outreach to by the council notify residents when debating issues that may affect them. · Give resident concerns greater consideration than those of developers, contractors, and other corporate entities. · Gifts and other bribes to individual neighborhood representatives by corporate entities that hold a developmental interest in such neighborhoods must be prohibited and punishable by law. (top of page)
V. GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE
1. Enforce open government, “sunshine laws”, and accountability rules on all agencies and appointed or elected officials.
2. Public services should be performed by the DC Government. Agencies or functions that are essential and provide service to the entire public (e.g., waste management, transportation, utilities, law enforcement, education, health care delivery) should not be privatized, contracted out, or otherwise made subject to the caprices of the for-profit marketplace.
3. Public contracts let by DC Government, Council of Governments, or the Federal Government to private companies for profit must be regulated by the government, not by market forces. When it is not feasible for Government to perform a service, it should be contracted to a locally owned business employing local labor. The labor practices and environmental protection rules in force in the DC government must apply equally to all contractors and subcontractors.
4. The D.C. City Council should be a full-time job, with council members barred from simultaneously holding other jobs. Elected representatives salaries should be reduced and set to be more in line with the median income of the constituents they represent. Conflict of interest rules should be strictly enforced.
5. The D.C. City Council should not enact tort reform legislation that will arbitrarily limit judgments, limit access to the courts, or under any circumstances hold citizen plaintiffs liable for corporate defendants’ legal costs concerning medical malpractice, personal injury and consumer product safety claims. (top of page)
VI. FISCAL ISSUES
1. A progressive, fair and efficient tax system is necessary for a physically, socially and economically healthy community. The DC Government should develop a comprehensive revenue policy that meets fiscal goals as well as promote the needs and interests of the residents of D.C. and not work to their detriment. The policy should identify the appropriate proportion of revenue to be provided from various sources and tax laws should be modified to accomplish this.
2. D.C. personal income tax rates are less progressive than the federal tax rates and the income brackets, personal exemptions and standard deductions are lower and not inflation adjusted. Calculate D.C. personal income taxes as a direct percentage of the federal income taxes. This will simplify tax filings, reduce the number of people required to file, and make the progressive nature of the income tax consistent with the federal tax structure.
3. Reduce the general sales tax and eliminate the convention center surtax of 1% on prepared food.
4. Change the property tax structure to a split rate property tax. The split rate property tax takes the value of a piece of property and splits it into two parts: the value of the land and the value of the buildings/improvements on the land. It reduces the tax on buildings/improvements and increases the tax on land. Compared to the current system, people who improve their properties get a tax break and speculators who hold vacant lots or deteriorating empty buildings will pay more.
5. The current business tax structure of four different taxes on different types of business is difficult for both businesses to manage and the D.C. government to collect. Replace the four taxes with one tax based on the direct and indirect compensation, dividends and interest of all D.C. businesses.
6. Benefits from restructuring business taxes should go to businesses that hire D.C. residents, pay a living wage and provide benefits, reduce solid waste and other pollutants, recycle, encourage public transportation, and invest profits in D.C. instead of taking them out of the city.
7. A broad-based energy tax should be levied to promote the use of energy efficient technologies. These will not only aid the environment, but also can promote the development of new industries to supply the technologies. Any such energy tax should be coupled with measures guaranteed to protect low income and working class residents from an erosion of their real income.
8. All D.C. taxpayers should be taxed under the same rules. There should be no special deals for any business, individual, or property owner.
9. The D.C. government must control the investment of its pension funds and should share investment decisions with a citizen commission.
10. Projects costing $5 million and above must comply with the D.C. Environmental Policy Act (DC EPA).
11. Government offices in the District should be required to procure goods and services from District-based vendors, if possible, unless a competing bid is more than 15% lower. All government procurement bid specifications should include, where applicable, high standards favoring post-consumer content; minimal packaging; nontoxic ingredients and processes; fair labor practices in production and distribution; and reused or refurbished goods.
12. Congress should allow the District to work with Maryland and Virginia to institute a region-wide reciprocal income tax. The tax would direct a portion of an individual’s local income tax to the jurisdiction in which that individual works to compensate for the use of services and infrastructure. 13. The District should immediately implement Initiative 51, passed by voters, which opens to the public the process under which commercial property owners appeal their real estate tax assessments. (top of page)
VII. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
1. Create an environmental department or agency with full authority to monitor for compliance and to enforce the law. Maintaining the health of D.C.’s natural habitat – water, river, streams, air and land, will come under the jurisdiction of this environmental authority.
2. Expand the Metropolitan Police Department’s Environmental Crimes Unit; add more inspectors and lawyers in the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs; add more environmental planners in the Office of Planning; create a new special branch in the Corporation Council’s Office to deal with environmental legal concerns.
3. Clean up and prohibit further pollution of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers by private entities and government agencies, and by storm water run-off. Pollution infractions should be fined sufficiently to discourage offenders. Much of our pollution drains into the rivers directly and from no sited source, it is equally damaging to the environment and must be captured and filtered.
4. Adopt and enforce ambitious goals for solid waste reduction, including: · Increase recycling, · Adopt a bottle bill · Impose quantity-based disposal fees. · Require consumer products be sold with the minimum necessary packaging and that all reasonable efforts be made to use recycled and/or readily recyclable materials in packaging. The primary burden for reducing packaging waste must be put on the manufacturers of that waste. · Standards governing trash transfer stations must be enforced. · Phase out all trash transfer operations involving imported solid waste, and site transfer operations involving the District’s solid waste in compliance with EPA environmental justice policies. · Phase in recycling of organic waste to be transformed into compost by District of Columbia composting centers.
5. Mandate recycling for all government agencies, schools, apartment buildings, and businesses. The recycling target should reach 50% by 2005 and 80% by 2010. Requirements for District government agencies and contractors to use post-consumer recycled materials should be enforced. A goal should be to open a recycling plant within District boundaries.
6. The D.C. Government must direct its policies toward the maximum feasible use of energy from renewable resources and use the most environmentally friendly technology for all buildings and vehicles.
7. There should be a municipal utility district in D.C., providing for the municipal aggregation of electricity buying for all D.C. residents, businesses, and government agencies. (top of page)
VIII. HEALTH ISSUES
1. All health-related policy enacted in the District of Columbia should be consistent with the goal of introducing publicly funded single-payer universal healthcare. This health care must include: · Universal access without concern for work status or health history; · Patient choice of clinics, doctors, and other health care professionals; · Comprehensive benefits, without insurance premiums, deductibles or co-payments, including hospital and physician care, prescription drugs, dental and vision care, reproductive and preventative care, and defined mental health benefits.
2. Until the introduction of single-payer universal health-care in the District of Columbia, we demand: · Adequate social and health services must be made available to those who have special needs – the mentally ill, the handicapped, those who are terminally ill. · A publicly funded hospital that provides quality health care for all ill and injured residents equally regardless of income or status of health insurance coverage. · Public health clinics established throughout the city with accessible hours and affordable to all and offering preventive care such as inoculations, contraception, and HIV education as well as abortion services. Drug-addiction treatment and needle exchange should be available at the clinics. Public health outreach, especially in underserved areas, should be a primary mandate of public clinics.
3. Guarantee nursing homes and assisted-living facilities for senior citizens and the mentally handicapped. Senior citizens should not be dispersed to private homes except on their own volition.
4. Guarantee shelter minimally for a year to all homeless people. Initiate a training program for homeless teams to repair and restore dilapidated buildings and houses for them to manage and dwell in. The D.C. government is obliged to assist the homeless by supplying them with food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and training for employment.
5. In order to prevent death or injury from hypothermia in cold weather, emergency shelter should be provided for homeless residents during winter months. Such shelter should be free, safe, adequately spacious, and equipped with sufficient sleeping and shower facilities so as to provide an environment that respects the dignity of the residents. Government buildings, such as the Reeves Center at 14th and U Streets, NW, would be excellent spaces for such use.
6. We support a woman’s right to complete reproductive freedom, with no societal intervention in decisions about abortion, contraception, or sterilization.
7. Healthcare in the District of Columbia should place equal emphasis on women’s health concerns.
(top of page)
1. All public schools must be fully and equally funded, and equally supplied with books and class equipment. Teacher/student ratio should not exceed 1/15 for grades 1 through 8 in all schools.
2. Public schools should not be: · Privatized · Made to compete with private schools through government-funded vouchers · Used for military recruitment (e.g., through JROTC) · Used as places to advertise corporate products or sell junk food to students
3. Elementary schools should be within walking distance of all students’ residences. Elementary school size should be targeted at 250 students and must not exceed 500 students. Middle school and junior high should be targeted at 500 students and should not exceed 1000.
4. All high schools must offer a college-preparatory curriculum. Schools should provide students the opportunity to supplement that curriculum with courses in art, music, crafts, mechanics, and computers. High schools should be targeted at 750 students and must not exceed 1,500 students.
5. Teacher standards should be increased and pay levels should reflect the higher expectations. Continuing education should be part of maintaining teacher standards. Teacher salaries should be consistent with other jurisdictions in the region. Teachers must be qualified in the subjects that they teach.
6. In keeping with their higher qualifications, principals and teachers should have more authority over their class curriculum and classroom methodology.
7. The University of the District of Columbia (UDC), including the School of Law, should be fully funded and expanded to meet the higher education needs of residents.
8. Offer G.E.D. programs in schools and in prisons for all persons who left school before graduating.
9. Schedule Adult Education evening classes at high schools, at UDC and/or in public libraries, available for a minimum fee to cover books and/or equipment. A conflict resolution course with practice in the other classes should be taught as an extra-curriculum course each year.
10. Open all Public Libraries 6 days per week, with evening hours on weekdays.
11. Tuition to UDC should be at a level that makes the school accessible to everyone and satellite campuses should be opened.
12. All D.C. public schools should teach nonviolence and conflict resolution.
13. Recognizing that sports, recreation, music and arts comprise an important part of the healthy development of our youth, all students in D.C. public schools should have access to a full range of opportunities for athletic and artistic endeavors, with adequate facilities, equipment, and training staff.
14. D.C. public schools should comply with Federal law and provide adequate Special Education services to students that require them so that students with special needs do not have to seek these services in the outlying school systems of Maryland and Virginia.
15. D.C. public schools should comply with all federal law regarding equal treatment and opportunity for boys and girls in education. D.C. public schools should vigorously enforce Title 9 requirements for parity between boys and girls athletics. (top of page)
X. LAW ENFORCEMENT AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
1. No death penalty.
2. The current societal function of prisons needs to be challenged, as does our concept of what constitutes criminal behavior. Restructure the approach to law enforcement so that it emphasizes crime prevention, aided in part by aggressive intervention with at-risk youth, mentoring and conflict resolution programs, supervised after-school and community activities, job skills training and economic opportunity, and freely available treatment for chemical addiction will all serve to drastically reduce anti-social and destructive behavior.
3. Sentencing policies that re-integrate non-violent offenders into the community rather than isolate them are also necessary for rehabilitation and relieving overcrowded prisons. 4. D.C.’s incarcerated residents should not be imprisoned in institutions that are privately run for private profit. Every effort should be made to house prisoners as close to D.C. as possible, including consideration of the construction of a publicly run facility in the metro-D.C. area.
5. Strengthen the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB). · Give the Board subpoena power. · Require that complaints be mediated within 6 months of the filing of the complaint. · Use volunteer mediators to help resolve complaints. · Allow the CCRB to review police training, policies, and practices to identify areas for improvement.
6. End “zero tolerance” police harassment of residents.
7. We reaffirm a commitment to equal protection under the law for all residents of the District of Columbia, regardless of immigration status. Rescind extended police right of entry to buildings without warrant. Rescind stop and search rights.
8. No curfew for adolescents, partial or total, should be permitted.
9. We oppose the continued criminalization of drug use, and support free drug treatment for all who request it as part of a comprehensive health care system. (top of page)
1. Democracy in the workplace should be the defining principle in all places of work. We support full protection of the right for labor to organize at the worksite and bargain collectively.
2. No permanent replacement of workers on strike.
3. All jobs in the District of Columbia must pay a living wage and include basic benefits. Until single payer universal health care is implemented, this must include healthcare and maternal and paternal paid leave. Portability of healthcare must be immediate, complete, and affordable.
4. Locate apprentice training stations for District employment within D.C. and reachable by bus or rail. (top of page)
1. Metrobus and Metrorail are essential public services and should be maintained as publicly run entities.
2. Routes must not be chosen on the basis of profit, but on the basis of need. Return to longer routes, away from using busses primarily to feed riders to the subway.
3. Reduce public transportation fares.
4. The transportation budget must serve public transportation first and foremost. We must direct our economic planning to more buses, jitney buses, light rail and Metrorail. Business must be encouraged to locate on public transportation lines rather than locations accessible only by car.
5. Bicycling and walking are important elements of an integrated, intermodal transportation system. Include bicycle and pedestrian concerns during all transportation improvement studies, and provide bicycle facilities and sidewalks whenever streets are constructed or maintained. Expand efforts to make the streets bicycle-friendly, including designating bike lanes, closing some streets to automobile traffic, allowing unlimited bicycle access on Metrorail, and promoting bicycle safety.
6. There should be no construction of new highways through or around the city.
7. End all use of roads in Rock Creek Park as commuter routes. The primary purpose of the Park should be as a nature reserve; recreation consistent with this purpose should be promoted. Motor vehicle access to the Park should be limited to those entering it for recreational purposes or Park business; the section of Beach Drive currently closed on weekends should be permanently closed to motor vehicles.
8. Replace and/or convert all diesel Metrobuses with alternatives such as hydrogen fuel cells, electric or compressed natural gas. (top of page)
XIII. SAFETY NET, ECONOMY AND HOUSING
1. Provide adequate funding for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) to support families for the duration of their need.
2. Restore the Tenant Assistance Program (TAP) and Emergency Assistance.
3. Continue and strengthen rent control to include all new rental housing.
4. Re-define economic development to mean a sustainable economy built on locally generated business, locally owned, serving local residents and hiring local people.
5. Childcare, food stamps, school lunches and other necessities for sustenance must be part of the safety net. Access to public assistance programs should be simplified, with “one-stop” intake and administrative offices located in every ward. Applicants for public assistance should be able to provide required financial and personal information once for all available forms of assistance.
6. Public housing communities should be secure, well maintained, and served by public transportation. Residents of public housing should not be forcibly removed from their homes unless and until they have been guaranteed immediate placement in homes that are equally safe, secure, and accessible to public transit.
7. Blighted houses should be rehabilitated and made available to low-income residents; demolition should be allowed only when rehabilitation is physically impossible due to the condition of the building.
8. City programs to secure home ownership must be targeted toward low-income residents.
(top of page)
Postlude: Organizing For Change Through the D.C. Statehood Green Party
The D.C. Statehood Green Party is dedicated to creating a society based on the principles of equality, liberty and social responsibility. Humankind’s well-being and prosperity depend on a sustainable economy that distributes its wealth to all, while protecting the planet and its ecosystems.
The D.C. Statehood Green Party does not exist simply to obtain a seat at the legislative table; we seek to challenge the fundamental rules regarding such a seating process. While some victories for social, economic, environmental, and political justice may be won through the electoral process, we believe that the magnitude of such change will always be limited by constraints built in to our current political and economic system. Such constraints serve to protect the interests of corporations and their owners against the interests of local and global residents and the environment.
It is with recognition that these constraints themselves must be challenged that the D.C. Statehood Green Party places as much emphasis on its political activism and agitation as it does on its electoral pursuits. Challenging these constraints means challenging directly the expanding system of globalized capitalism. Electing good people to office is not enough; an engaged, educated and empowered citizenry must have a controlling interest in our society. We believe that the creation of such a citizenry requires new levels of local and transnational solidarity that challenge the global rule of for-profit capital. For instance, neoliberal approaches such as structural adjustment programs should be resisted as one way to achieve local, national and global justice.
Because the D.C. Statehood Green Party intends to represent the interests of the majority of D.C. residents, we refuse any corporate sponsorship, corporate donations, or anything else that would bind us to the corporate class. This is quite different from most political parties, which operate on the assumption that the need for money justifies the acceptance of contributions from any source. We believe that a system requiring so much money as a prerequisite for participation is not democratic, and cannot represent a true majority of the people.
Under real democratic self-government, public policy controls and regulates an economy designed to serve the public interest. However, under the current system, the economy serves private profit, and government serves merely to protect this relationship against the public interest. Powerful economic interests now drive politics to serve their own advantage. Our mission is to reorder these priorities and place the general public squarely in the political driver’s seat.
The planks outlined above in this platform have been derived from this basic mission and view of the world. We welcome all who want to be a part of a viable challenge to the system to join the D.C. Statehood Green Party and share your talents and ideas. (top of page)
REDUCE – RE-USE – REPAIR – RECYCLE
[[ Adopted November 1, 1999; Revised April 4, 2002 ]]